Eating Disorders: A Look At What Other Bloggers Are Talking About

"Do It For Yourself": Overcoming Anorexia

Approximately seven million American women and one million American men suffer from an eating disorder. Ninety-five percent of these people are between the ages of 12 and 25. In this guest post, a Carleton woman tells her story and offers some thoughts about an issue that affects so many young men and women.

I am recovering from anorexia. I am writing this post anonymously because, ultimately, this post is not about me. It’s about me sharing a perverse logic that many women buy into in order to feel better about themselves by complying with societal standards.

I was the “nice, but not so pretty” friend. You know, the one guys went to for advice to snag the hot girl. I accepted my lot in life and didn’t think much of it, mostly because I didn’t think much of myself. My dad would tell me I was fat and boys ignored me. However, I lost some weight by cutting out junk food and got a boyfriend in high school, which made it easier to suppress my painful memories. I went to college, put on some weight by eating too many cookies, and I flipped out. I was so ashamed. I was disgusted with myself because I was fat and ugly again. Boys were never interested in me for being a good person, for accepting people as they were without judgment, for my sharp wit. No, that was nothing. My body was the only thing they wanted, and I wouldn’t get attention for being less than perfect.

I counted calories, and it worked. I got down to my normal weight, and I felt pretty again. However, why stop? Maybe, if I were thin enough, someone would put in the effort to get to know me for me, because I would be pretty enough. I saw love and my weight as having an inverse relationship: as weight decreases, love increases. Right?

Read in full here.


Beating Eating Disorders Even Without A "Cure."

I couldn't help but think about eating disorder recovery when I read this article: Diabetes? Some beat it, but are they cured?

Some people with Type 2 Diabetes are able to control their blood sugar through the euphemistic "lifestyle changes," namely eating "healthier,"* losing weight, and exercising, to the point that they no longer need medication.
And, though it sounds a little ominous, I think an eating disorder will always be waiting for me to slip. I don't believe recovery is all doom and gloom, but I'd be really stupid to forget that I am and will always be vulnerable to an eating disorder. American culture isn't conducive to eating disorder recovery, either, which only adds to the need to remain vigilant.

Here's the thing: we don't know how many people recover from an eating disorder only to fall back down the rabbit hole decades later. We know relapse is common and recovery can be a long and difficult road. We know that malnutrition is almost always the first step both in the initial descent into an ED and into relapse. We know that normalizing eating habits goes a long way in treating ED thinking. But we don't know about "cures," if there is one, if there will ever be one.

For me to stay healthy, I can't brag about how little sleep I'm getting or how stressed I am. These things make me nutty, which tends to lead to food restriction. Food restriction leads to overexercise and overexercise leads to stress fractures and The Boot. I can't go on a diet and expect a positive outcome. I can't be carefree about food and eating- I need to make sure I'm eating enough of EVERY different food group and that I'm getting enough fats and proteins.

Read in full here.

Susan Boyle: A Gift To Us All

A joyous wake up call just blasted stereotypes about women completely out of rigid cultural perceptions. It happened on the Britains Got Talent show. Susan Boyle, the wrong age, shape, size, and in the wrong hair style, makeup, dress and shoes according to cultural dictates of what constitutes desirable women, ploughed into the hearts and minds of everyone who heard her sing her audition piece, “I dreamed a dream,” from Les Miserables.

Away with rubbish!

Her magnificent voice, carrying the depth of human emotion, hit our senses with her first note. Her talent and strength never let up. As she carried through her song I believe we savored each moment both for the beauty she gave and for the cleansing in our minds of judgemental rubbish we’ve been carrying around for decades.

Her performance is moving through the world at the speed of light touching hearts and minds with a glowing light of love and respect for a whole person, a whole woman who doesn’t live by the beauty standards of high fashion models or celebrity film women.

Heart and dedication blast through formidable obstacles

Her heart and soul, her obvious dedication to her music, her blazing talent and miraculous range, brought a magnificent beauty to the attention of the world.

And it’s all the more wonderful because the stereotype and cultural belief has been, till this moment, that women with a certain appearance could never, even remotely have the power to light up humanity with the force of Susan’s heart coming through her incredibly magnificent voice.

The message to women with eating disorders

If you have an eating disorder, I hope with all my heart, that you will heed the cultural message that Susan Boyle brings to us all.

Read in full here.

A Response: Making A Change

I'd like to respond publicly to another comment I received on my latest video post in the hopes that others out there are pondering the same thing and looking for some encouragement. "Things got better for a few days, and then a week, until I find myself staring at the same question - do I WANT to get better and be more than this? I fight it everyday and some days I give up and give in...other days I'm strong (so to speak) and don't eat at all, I can't allow it. How did you go about making that change? I can't seem to find the middle ground, or even solid ground at this point to stand on. It's either all or nothing, black or white..." The "all or nothing" attitude is something I understand well. I think many of us feel that way. So, at the very least, you're not alone. It is, nevertheless, frustrating. But first things first: if you are writing that paragraph above--if you're bothering to take the time to write to me, to even come here and read my blog--you do in fact WANT to get better and be more than "this." It might not seem like you want it when bad days come around, but bad days only last so long. If you're here, you're at a starting point. Or perhaps a middle point. Or better yet--a breaking point. And you can get past it. But you have to believe you can get past it. You have to take yourself by the shoulders, figuratively speaking, and say, "You can do this and you WILL do this." Nothing can come before that first move. Part of recovery is that every day struggle you speak of. It's a process. It's a journey. It's a tough place. But you're moving. Because you don't sit there, day after day, with the exact same mindset. You question. You falter. You feel. You hurt. You are at a loss. But you're getting somewhere. You're not stagnant and still. Know what I mean? It may actually (and understandably) be more frustrating to let days turn to a week or more of doing well, and then BAM--you suddenly feel you're back where you started. It's a let down. It's annoying. It certainly doesn't make you want to keep going, to try again. I feel ya on that one. You're forgetting one important thing, though: You aren't starting over from scratch. Those steps forward you made are not discounted or negated by the fact that you are now stalled again. If you start at point A and you are trying to get to point B, but you stop halfway there, it doesn't mean you're back at point A, does it? No.

Read in full here.

Labs Say You're Fine, Doctor Says You're Sick: What's Going On?

What are parents to do when they're pretty sure their child has an eating disorder yet all lab tests and the usual medical markers of health come back within normal ranges?

This is a situation that Marcia sees a lot, most recently in the case of a young college-aged patient. The student reported that although she knew she had an eating disorder, she was told by her doctor that her labs, weight, blood pressure and heart rate were all fine. The girl and her parents were left baffled and confused.

The same thing happened to Marcia as a young girl of 15 struggling with anorexia. In our book, we relate the story of the time when Marcia's grandmother, who was worried about Marcia's plummeting weight, took her to see their family doctor. He found no cause for alarm, despite the fact that Marcia was five-foot-six inches and 100 pounds. "He recommended that I put olive oil in my dry and brittle hair," recalls Marcia, "when he should have told me to add the olive oil to my food."

Even though doctors are far more educated today about the hazards of eating disorders than they were when Marcia was a teen (an extreme case like hers would most likely be noticed by even an obtuse doctor now), eating disorders are still often missed. Patient and family are eager to accept this poor but reassuring advice; after all they don't really want to admit that there is a problem. The professional in the white lab coat is giving them permission to look the other way, and it's just too convenient sometimes.

The reason this scenario -- normal lab results despite clear-cut anorexia – occurs so often­ is that the body works very hard and very effectively to compensate for starvation. The ups and downs of human evolution have ensured that the body is well-adapted to surviving famine. Usually labs will stay normal until the patient is in very serious medical trouble, and then things go downhill so fast families have no time to process what is happening.

Read in full

Born Anorexic?

For a long time the only acceptable narrative for this illness was about thinness and victimization. But I note a growing number of former and even some current patients who not only accept but endorse the idea that an eating disorder is a brain condition, a genetic predisposition and not a personal choice or weakness. They report feeling relieved and helped by this knowledge instead of demeaned.

Read in full here.

sources linked above.


happybodies said...

Thanks for the link! Your blog and site look amazing. Thank you for the work you're doing!

MrsMenopausal said...

You're welcome. Great blog! I look forward to reading more.
Thank you for the kind compliments. I really appreciate them. :)